It quickly became evident during Summer League that the Los Angeles Lakers seemingly struck gold with selecting Kyle Kuzma No. 27 overall in the 2017 NBA Draft. He helped lead the team to a championship, impressed during preseason games, and has carried that into the regular season.
On Friday, Kuzma etched his name into the record books, behind 27 points and 14 rebounds in a hard-fought loss to the Golden State Warriors. Kuzma became the first Lakers rookie since Jerry West in 1961 to score a minimum of 25 points in three consecutive games.
Kuzma’s streak began against the Warriors on Dec. 18, when he scored 25 points on 10-of-16 shooting in 40 minutes off the bench. He then started Wednesday against the Houston Rockets, and poured in a career-high 38 points while again logging 40 minutes.
That night, the 22-year-old made his first nine shots, and became the first rookie with at least 38 points, seven rebounds and four assists, with seven made 3-pointers, since Jason Kidd did so in 1995.
Moreover, Kuzma became the first rookie in NBA history to have such a stat line while shooting at least 70 percent from the field.
Kuzma’s double-double in the second game against the Warriors this week was his ninth of the season. That’s the most by a Lakers rookie since George Lynch had 10 in 1993-94.
Kuzma’s five 20-and-10 games this year are the most by a Lakers rook since Magic Johnson had 10 in 1979-80. Sandwiched between Johnson and Kuzma is Hall-of-Famer James Worthy, who had three such games in 1982-83.
His steady dose of scoring nights thus far has Kuzma leading the Lakers with 17.7 points per game, while his 6.9 rebounds are tied with Lonzo Ball for the team-high.
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